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Mystic and Angel had been left without a place to go after their caregiver passed away. Luckily, Farm Sanctuary was able to take them in and send them to New Jersey so we could foster them. Our family has lots of experience with mini horses thanks to our daughter’s work with Mini Horse Heroes, and so it was decided that our sanctuary would be a nice place for them to vacation while they waited for their new forever home.

With their caregiver, Mystic had lived alongside her sister for many years. The two were very bonded. When Mystic’s sister passed away, she became despondent. Her caregiver thought she needed company and knew that he wanted to rescue a friend for her. He took a trip to the Cranbury Livestock Auction House where he truly saved the life of a partially blind, white, beautiful little mini horse that he named Angel.

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Angel’s story was incredibly sad and very common. Over a two-week period she had been transported to five different livestock auctions in five different states: Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In the Cranbury auction house she stood waiting to be sold. She was thin and had been badly bitten by other stressed horses. She had been kicked repeatedly and was terrified. The kill buyers who visit auctions looking to purchase animals for meat often find that mini horses are not worth their truck space; they take up the same footprint but their shorter height offers less meat. Instead, the auction houses may wait for a local zoo person to come by and purchase the mini horses to feed to the big cats. Luckily for Angel, a zoo person had not yet shown up along her torturous journey.

When Angel arrived at her new home she was still shaken and too frightened to let anyone near her. Her caregiver was patient. He would sit in her stall everyday and read her the paper. Slowly she began to trust and Mystic was there to be her new buddy. It was important that Mystic and Angel not be separated when they left their caregiver’s farm, and so we promised to give them respite until the perfect new home could be found.

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We did our best to make their transition to us and their stay with us as comfortable as possible. We set up 2 cozy barn stalls side-by-side and played soothing music.

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Mini horses are very sensitive to the sugar in grass so we set up a dry lot so they could enjoy time outdoors. We added a run-in so they had shade on warm days and spread out hay bags for added mental stimulation and to keep them from eating too fast. My daughter and I had a lot of extra bonding time together as we gave daily care, took them on exercise walks and even found it to be mutually therapeutic to brush them and braid their gorgeous manes.

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Three months after they came to be in our care, a wonderful home was found. Though we were incredibly excited that they would be joining a beautiful family in upstate New York, we had gotten very attached. There were lots of conversations about the importance of being a good foster and many tears were shed, but we couldn’t be happier for our two true angels.